Polish Business Harbour Visa – what is it and how it works?

Polish Business Harbour Visa – what is it and how it works?
Joanna Kegler

Joanna Kegler

Senior associate / Attorney-at-law

Unusual times call for unusual solutions. In most cases their introduction is time-consuming and requires considerable investment. It turns out, however, that there are options in Polish law that perfectly match today’s extreme circumstances. We are talking about “Poland. Business Harbour”, a special program dedicated to among others citizens of Ukraine and Belarus.

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“Poland. Business Harbour ” – what is it?

“Poland. Business Harbour” is a government program in force from 2020. Initially, it covered only citizens of Belarus. From July 2021, it can also be used by residents of Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Moldova and Armenia. The program is intended for specialists from the IT sector, start-ups and small, medium and large enterprises. It enables trouble-free relocation of the company to the territory of Poland.

“Poland. Business Harbour” program also includes support in the relocation of employees and their families. Including making it easier for them to study in Polish schools and helping them learn Polish.

Do you want to take advantage of the “Poland. Business Harbour” regulations and employ IT specialists freely? The first step should be to set up a company in Poland – we will register it in the “Poland. Business Harbour” system. Visit our page dedicated entirely to company formation in Poland and make a first step.

How does “Poland. Business Harbour” work?

“Poland. Business Harbour ” is a package of solutions dedicated to specialists in the modern technology industry who are considering the possibility of transferring their business to Poland, establishing a start-up related to the IT industry in Poland or planning to take up employment in this industry in Poland.

One of the elements of the package is also support in the form of connecting entrepreneurs with investors and awarding grants for research and development activities.

To use it, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • technical education in the field of IT confirmed by a document or documented minimum one-year work experience in the IT industry,
  • possession of a document confirming the willingness to be employed by one of the partner companies listed on the website: https://www.gov.pl/web/poland-businessharbour/specjalista-it#.

Polish Business Harbour Visa – what is it and how it works?

One of the many benefits of “Poland. Busines Harbour ” program is the  possibility to apply for a Business Harbour Visa. This visa is subject to a special accelerated procedure. Within a few weeks, a foreigner should be able to legally take up employment in Poland. She/he can also start a business on the same terms as Polish citizens.

The greatest benefits of the Polish Business Harbour Visa include:

  • the possibility of setting up a business on the same terms as Polish citizens
  • exemption from the obligation to have a work permit during the visa validity period
  • the ability to freely change working and employment conditions
  • issuing a visa also for members of the immediate family of a foreigner
  • freedom to travel to other Schengen states.

Who is subject to the Poland. Business Harbour programme?

According to the program’s assumptions, Poland. Business Harbour targets for three categories of entities:

  • for individual IT specialists,
  • for start-ups
  • for already functioning companies (small, medium and large enterprises).

Advantages resulting from the PBH programme

Among the most important benefits for people using the programme, there are:

  1. a possibility to use a special type of visa, which is the only one that:
    • allows you to work without the need to obtain a permit
    • enables establishing a business
    • and allows you to take your immediate family with you;
  2. priority in obtaining the abovementioned visa – the waiting period from the moment of submitting the application to obtaining a visa amounts to several days and the number of appendices to the visa application is shorter in comparison to the standard visa procedure;
  3. support in the form of connecting entrepreneurs with investors and grants for R&D activities;
  4. support in the form of the business concierge as part of cooperation with the Polish Investment & Trade Agency.

How to benefit from Poland. Business Harbour programme?

In order to participate in the simplified PBH visa procedure, the applicant must, first of all, have proof of interest in his or her employment from one of the partner companies. The list of companies is available on the official governmental website – gov.pl/pbh. Additionally, the applicant must have at least one year of experience in the IT industry. Confirmed technical education within this field also does the job.

After completing all the formalities and obtaining the visa, its owners may work in Poland without a work permit. The employment process of such workers is then analogous to that of Polish citizens. The foreigners participating in the programme and willing to work under B2B contracts also have such possibility – they may start their own business in Poland on conditions similar to those of people with Polish citizenship.

Need help?

Based on our many years of experience in cooperation with foreign companies who are interested in company formation in Poland in order to gather workforce from eastern Europe, including companies from Ukraine and Belarus, we offer support in obtaining a Poland Business Harbour Visa. Our assistance will allow you to shorten the visa procedure as much as possible and start your business in Poland in the shortest possible time.

For how long is the visa issued and is there a possibility to extend it?

The visas obtained by the participants of Poland. Business Harbour are temporary – they have one year validity period. After this period, a foreigner may either leave Poland and apply for a  new visa or start a procedure for legalizing his or her residence and work on the territory of Poland. Having in mind the possible length of such procedures, we recommend to submit relevant applications some time in advance – up to several months. Keep in mind the situation of the citizens of Azerbaijan. They can participate in the PBH programme as well, however, in their case, there is no possibility to submit a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner. For this group of foreigners, the lack of a work permit after the visa’s expiry date will mean that there is no possibility to continue work.

How to apply for Polish Harbor Business Visa?

In order to obtain the Polish Business Harbour Visa, it is necessary to correctly fill in and submit the visa application.

Required documents:

completed and signed application,

current biometric photo,

passport – issued within the last 10 years, valid for at least three months from the date of the planned return, with at least two blank pages for visas,

medical insurance for the period of validity of the visa (minimum insurance amount of EUR 30,000),

documentation confirming the purpose of the trip:

  •  if you are an IT specialist – a document confirming your technical education in the field of IT or at least one year of experience in the IT industry and proof of interest in cooperation from of one of the partner companies in the program
  •  if you are setting up a startup – a document confirming qualification for the Poland Prize program,
  • if you run a small, medium or large enterprise – a document confirming your qualification to the program by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

If this article was interesting for you and you want to know more on the topic it concerned we encourage you to contact us. Specialists from our law firm in Poland, Warsaw, will  be happy to help. If you are interested in company registration in Poland visit our dedicated landing page.

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Joanna Kegler

Senior associate / Attorney-at-law

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